State Symbols of Maryland You Should Know
National symbols are important in building a state or a nation’s identity. One state’s symbol can tell a story about the history and culture of the place at a particular time or event. Symbols make certain abstract concepts more tangible and understandable. A flag, for example, can stand as a symbol of pride, identity, and loyalty for one’s country.
In the United States, citizens are allowed to pass bills, which propose what specific things should be adapted as the state’s official symbol through legislation. State symbols range from a state’s flag, capital, name origin, nickname, to its local fauna, flora, and even its official state exercise.
Let’s take a look at some of Maryland’s state symbols.
The official state flag of Maryland bears the coat of arms of the Calverts and Crosslands, the families where George Calvert’s parents are from. Before the civil war, Maryland was associated with the yellow and black banner. These were the heraldic colors of George Calvert’s father, Leonard Calvert. Alicia Crossland, George’s mother, was an heiress. This entailed her the privilege of bearing her own coat of arms. This gave George the option to use the red-and-white Crossland banner.
People needed a symbol of unity, which is why by 1880, after the Civil War, the mashed up flag from two banners appeared and flown for the very first time. It was officially adapted as Maryland’s official state symbol in 1904, by virtue of chapter 48, Act of 1904.
The second Maryland symbol in our list is the Maryland state song, entitled “Maryland, My Maryland.” The song was originally a poem written by Hames Ryder Randall. It expressed the poet’s sympathies to the Confederate. It was approved by virtue of the Code of General Provisions, Act of 1939.
The last Maryland symbol in the list is the official state sport, jousting. It gained popularity after the Civil War. People of all ages competed. Some even categorize the game as family sport.
The games are held in ring tournaments, “which involves charging a horse at full-gallop through an 80-yard course toward suspended rings, from three equally-spaced arches, rings are hung 6 feet 9 inches above the ground and range in diameter from one-quarter inch to nearly two inches depending upon the skill-level of the contestant” (Maryland State Archives, 2015).
Jousting was approved as the official state sport of Maryland by the virtue of chapter 134, Acts of 1962.
The state flag, state anthem, and state sports are just a few of the state symbols that show the rich cultural heritage of Maryland. Aside from the power of telling historical background and stories, state symbols fosters camaraderie, unity, and pride for one’s land.
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Maryland State Archives. n.d. “State Symbols.” Accessed July 14, 2017.http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/symbols/00list.html.